Monday, November 19, 2007

The bureaucratic slide to hopelessness

Time for another long boring story. I've always been fascinated in the progression of societies, families, organizations and companies. Most tend to drift in common patterns.

The most fundamental drift is in family wealth. The founder of a wealthy family is usually a tremendous talent who created wealth out of nothing, by providing something useful to society. Their children were raised middle-class, and usually consolidate this wealth, perhaps by ruthlessly extending the original natural monopoly. Their children were raised in wealth, and are usually totally useless. Their role in society is to piss all that money down the drain, thus boosting the economy, and spreading the wealth.

What is fascinating, is if an entire country becomes locked into the family cycle. This is the case with Japan. The founders rose after the war, and created new wealth. Their children expanded and consolidated the empires. But Japan refused to take in immigration, and now the third generation is mucking everything up.

A country, such as Canada, can avoid this fate by immigration. Each new wave of immigrants follows the same cycle, until their children become corporate lawyers, but the new waves create wealth.

If an organization becomes a closed society, it, too, follows the same cycle. Think of NASA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and old Ontario Hydro. At the beginning, they have a purpose to life, and attract the best brains. The second generation are usually their children, and also have dedication, but less brains. Finally, the third generation, are the idiot cousins of the president, and have no brains.

From a high level, these are general truths, but it is most interesting to look at actual scientific markers, and determine exactly where each organization is in the cycle. As well, there might be ways for sub-societies to avoid or delay this fate. (Next time!)
Part 2 Part 3

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